Thomas Kent Richins passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at his home in Farmington, Utah, at the age of 77. The third child of Lucille Beckett Richins and Lowell Oscar Richins, Thomas was born February 17, 1946, near Independence, Missouri, but spent most of his formative years living in the Canyon Rim neighborhood of Salt Lake City where he attended Olympus High School and graduated from Skyline High School in 1964. Thomas met his wife, Janice Rief Richins, while attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah. They married on September 22, 1969, in the Logan, Utah temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While at Utah State University, Thomas ran the computer lab and taught astronomy labs. Thomas earned bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Utah State University in 1972, then taught those subjects to high school students for a short time. Thomas spent most of his career developing software in highly technical arenas. His contributions helped develop the first artificial heart, develop a chemical-analysis autoclave for the evaluation of medications in pharmacies, and created software for controlling communication satellites.
Thomas was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who always paid his tithing. He served in many administrative callings for the Church, and also served in the Paris, France, mission of the Church from June 1965 to December 1967. As a father, he supported his two sons in serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ; and as a grandfather, he supported three of his grandsons on their missions (Alex, Isaac, and Brandon).
Thomas also served in the Utah Air National Guard as a reservist from December 1964 to December 1990. He rose to the rank of Major and commanded a group responsible for forward base communications and managed a data automation section. His military experience contributed to his love of distance running: throughout his life, he ran in several 10K and half-marathon races.
Thomas is survived by Janice, his wife of nearly 54 years; by three children: James Thomas (Chika), Peter Daniel (Sarah), and Susan Bridgette; and by brother L. Phillip Richins. He was preceded in death by his sisters Rebecca McLatchy and Cynthia France. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Deborah (Chris), Alex, Isaac, Brandon, Nathan, Ian, Thomas James, Andrew, and Olivia; and his beloved dogs Cinnamonbear and Lucylou.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, August 31, at 11:00 a.m. at the Somerset Chapel in Farmington, Utah, 1885 Summerwood Drive. Visitors are requested to begin gathering at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park. Family suggests contributions to the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, or Primary Children’s Medical Center.
Funeral services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary and Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin 10-15 minutes before the services and will be posted below.